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Preview from the North: Beijing tries to regroup after ACL embarassment

This week Beijing Guoan is back on the road, once again going up to Liaoning province for the second time in two weeks, this time they’ll be travelling to Shenyang to take on Liaoning Whowin. The weather shouldn’t be too harsh, but going north is never easy this time of year.

On the road again
I think I’m going to just set up a paragraph and cut and paste it week in, week out until Guoan shows signs of changing. Let me start writing it, they are horrible on the road. They SUCK! That’s even being too kind, they wish they could reach the level of sucking. I don’t think words can describe how bad the club has been on the road. However, one point in 5 matches (in all competitions) starts to paint a pretty clear picture of how bad they’ve been. It almost makes fans wish for a return to last year when they couldn’t win, but would regularly earn a point on the road.

Going to Liaoning looking for points has not gone so well for the club in recent years. Their last road victory over Liaoning came in 2008, with the previous two visits being draws (Liaoning wasn’t in the Chinese Super League in 2009). Last year, both matches between these clubs failed to produce a goal.

In flux
The Beijingers were overtaken by Jiangsu on Monday, so currently sit in fourth place with 10 points, 5 off the pace set by R&F. However, as discussed above, their away form has been shocking. It’s not just that they haven’t won, they’ve looked like two entirely different teams and in midweek the squad went to Tokyo and was utterly embarrassed by FC Tokyo, 3-0.

Considering the team was completely outplayed and was never really in the match, the result was a confidence killer for the club. Rumors abound that there are a number of internal conflicts amongst the players and the manager and though it hasn’t reached Shanghainese levels of disaster, Pacheco’s job (or at least his sanity) are in danger right now. Winning this match would go a long way to getting Guoan back on track and building up their confidence with a much needed road win.

The Opponents
Liaoning closed out the last round of matches, travelling to Nanjing this past Monday. It was an exciting match between the two last undefeated team, with Jiangsu coming out on top 1-0. Already missing Yu Hanchao and Pablo Brandan from the midfield, the beaten up side will further lose Ding Jie, who was sent off after receiving two yellows against Jiangsu.

This isn’t the two-headed Liaoning team of the past, even with Yu out, Yang Xu now has the help of Miloš Trifunović up top, an impressive presence. Further, Guoan’s set piece struggles may be tested by the tall Korean central back Kim Yoo-Jin.

Prediction
This is a good opportunity for Guoan to earn all three points, but with their road form recently, it’s going to be hard. There are still enough threats that Liaoning won’t make it easy for Guoan, I can’t see this being another goalless draw, but I do think the teams are going to split the points.

    Category W-D-L Category W-D-L
    Overall 3-3-4 on Tuesday 0-1-2
    Chinese Super League 3-1-2 on Wednesday 0-1-0
    ACL 0-2-2 on Friday 3-0-0
    Home 3-2-0 on Sunday 0-1-2
    Road 0-1-4 Scoring 1 goal 0-2-1
    Scoring first 2-2-0 Scoring 2 goals 1-0-0
    Giving up first goal 1-0-4 Scoring 3+ goals 2-0-0
    Leading at half 2-0-0 After a win 0-1-2
    Losing at half 1-0-3 After a loss 2-0-1
    Tied at half 0-3-1 After a draw 1-1-1
    Yang Zhi in goal 0-0-0 Pacheco in a suit 3-2-0
    Hou Sen in goal 3-3-4 Pacheco in practice wear 0-1-4
    Piao Cheng turns into Super Piao 1-2-1 Francois makes laughable defensive error 0-0-2
    Xu Liang scores a free kick 1-0-0 Zhang Xizhe plays like Zhang Xizhe 0-1-2
    Mao Jianqing vs Shanghai (or pretends vs SH) 1-2-0 Zhang Xizhe forgets he’s Zhang Xizhe 2-1-0

     

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

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